While environmental sustainability is an integral part ofemerging economies, protection of the environment and economic growth are oftenseen as competing aim. If economic growth and healthcare development are toppriorities for developing countries is it necessary for the emerging countrygovernments to sacrifice natural resources and change their policy? This is themain research question that will try to shed the light on this above givenclaim by looking at economic and political points of view in favor and viseversa. To start with, I will introduce you the main link between”improving living standards” and “sacrificing natural resources” that willfacilitate understanding the arguments I am going to present. Demand fornatural resources is correlated with economic growth, which is the ultimategoal for emerging countries.
Natural resources, renewable and non-renewable,are fundamental to economic activity in many ways. Goods produced fromrenewable natural capital include timber and non-timber forest products,catches of wild fish, etc. Goods produced from non-renewable natural resourcesare mainly oil and minerals. These goods form the basis of the economy in manydeveloping countries. Moreover, Natural capital is particularly important indeveloping countries. It accounts for an estimated 26% of total wealth inlow-income countries, 13% of wealth in middle-income countries and only 2% ofwealth in industrialized or OECD (The Organization for Economic Co-operationand Development) countries. Economic growth sounds fantastic. However,humanity’s rapidly growing consumption of these resources is causing severedamage.
Our climate is changing; fresh water reserves, fish stocks and forestsare shrinking; fertile land is being destroyed and species are becomingextinct. There are several arguments in favor of the research statement.Firstly, the rise of emerging markets is expected to rice that pushesconsumption of a range of resources higher.
For example, in 2010, Chinaovertook the USA to become the world’s largest consumer of energy, yet in percapita terms, consumption remains low, indicating that energy demand in Chinastill has some way to go (The Wall StreetJournal, edition 2010, July10). Secondly, demographic growth of emergingcountries should be taken into consideration because it is related to the trendboosting demand for raw materials because of increasing needs, due toconstruction, transport and infrastructure. Thirdly, one of the main demanddrivers for natural resources is the expansion of the global middle class, andin turn, the growth of consumer expenditure.
As we all know, there is aconsiderable growth of middle class in emerging countries. These middle classhouseholds are buying more customer goods and increasing demand of energy,metal, water, etc. Government should satisfy their needs indirectly meaningthat they are sacrificing natural resources of their own country or of theimporters’ countries. Last but not least is technological advancement ofemerging countries. The emergence of new technologies lead to increased demandof natural resources, especially referring to high-tech products, for instance:It is expected that electric vehicles will make up 25% of global car fleet by2040 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance), therefore, it will have an impact ondemand for oil and resources used in car batteries such as lithium, graphiteand cobalt.
Meanwhile, increased mobile phone production has helped drivedemand for rare earth metals. The strong growth in solar power has drivenincreased demand for silicon, used in photovoltaic cells. However, due to rising demand linked to growing populations,industrialization based on the burning of fossil fuels and the associatedpollution, it has become necessary to find ways of managing these naturalresources efficiently. Many emerging economies are major importers of naturalresources. This increased demand for natural resources makes improved resourcemanagement even more urgent. Emerging countries realize the scarcity of naturalresources and have started to become more environmentally friendly. In thisparagraph we will look at the natural resources management as a counterargumentof the research statement. To ensure that natural resources help not onlysupport but also sustain growth, they need to be used efficiently, equitablyand sustainably.
Policy makers in developing countries can play an importantrole to support natural resource management for pro-poor growth. First,development of co-operation can facilitate improved natural resourcemanagement, for example, by funding projects to build the capacity ofcommunity-based organizations to manage natural resources. It can encourageclarification of land tenure and resource rights. It can promote the use oftools such as participatory rural appraisal, strategic environmental assessmentand poverty and social impact assessment to enhance long-term thinking andpro-poor strategic planning of natural resource use.
Apart from that, emergingmarkets begin to realize the reality of needing more electricity -generatingcapacity, as well as stemming pollution – they have begun to transitionthemselves into a renewable future to help make up the damage that their attemptto growth causes. All things considered, I can point out that emergingeconomies influence natural resources since these countries are beingflourishing right now and are in need of more resources. However, it worthmentioning that emerging countries are doing their best to reduce the negativeeffect on environment and support sustainable growth. Personally, I strongly believe that “sacrificing”is not the right word to be utilized in this situation; sacrificing would be ifthe emerging nations did not care about the consequences of their actions whichis not the case in the real world.